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How To Fix Our Broken Democracy

Ralph welcomes Daniel Newman, author of the intriguing and accessible non-fiction graphic novel “Unrig: How To Fix Our Broken Democracy,” about how private “wealth hoarders” work to weaken government and what you can do about it. Then, Dr. John Geyman returns to remind us how corporate healthcare rips us all off as evidenced in his new book “Profiteering, Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care.”

Daniel Newman is a national expert on government accountability and money in politics. He is the President and Co-Founder of MapLight, a nonprofit that promotes transparency and political reform. Mr. Newman has led MapLight from a 2005 startup to an established national resource. He wrote the graphic novel “Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy”.

“The US Constitution was really written to insulate lawmakers from the public. To really push the public away… This Constitution, which I grew up learning was a sacred document, implicitly perfect, actually has a lot of problems that prevent government from actually working the way people want it to.”

Daniel Newman, author of “Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy”

John Geyman is an M.D. and professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has been a family physician in academic medicine for 21 years. For 13 years he practiced in rural communities. Dr. Geyman has served as president of Physicians for a National Health Program and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. His new book is titled, “Profiteering, Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care”.

“As we develop the profiteering side of healthcare it’s all about billing. And it takes lots of billing clerks for each physician to maximize those bills to the patient. And so, the growth of administrators is sky high versus the minimal growth of physicians… That’ll all go away with Medicare for All.”

Dr. John Geyman, author of “Profiteering, Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care”

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 330 Transcript (Right click to download)

7 Comments

  1. Mark Hughes says:

    Newman stated, “(Berkeley) is certainly progressive and liberal by any measure when you look at the rest of the country.”

    That’s not saying much. Europe, which has universal healthcare and multiple political parties, is far more progressive than California, which put the kibosh on a state-version of UHC when it had both the state legislature & the governor’s mansion a few years ago. It got shelved in committee by that ultrasocialist, megaleft group otherwise known as the Democratic Party. Not to mention the homeless situation is so dire many began living in RVs and such, which brought about the term “wheel estate”. Some progressive ideals there.

    Reason why poor people don’t come out in support of movements that would benefit them is because they’re scared. Police violence, prison, homelessness, the list is long why they don’t want to jeopardize what little they have.

    During the Wrap-Up, David brought up why doctors aren’t held accountable for this afterbirth of a healthcare system we have. I’m with him all the way. At the end of the day, those “trained professionals” end up being slingers for Big Pharma. Not to mention there’s a level of incompetence also; if they can’t pill your problem away or cut it out with a scalpel, they don’t know what to do. Maybe pump poison into you if you have cancer but little beyond that. They know little to nothing of preventive care other than the cliched “diet & exercise” trope, of which they know little of those also. As if Americans would just go full vegan & run 3 miles a day, our problems will be solved. Unless people start dying, then voila, problems solved of course. And they get six figures easily for all this. I’m sure they’re brooding over our healthcare crisis in between checking in with their stockbrokers and their tee times. Love it when David drives it home.

  2. Gabe says:

    I like to comment occasionally, often to voice support for the show. I used to live in California and where I live now there is a real dearth of intelligent and inspiring dialogue and activism. So thanks for the content and some reading ideas. Though I doubt my congressmen at present are remotely for national healthcare it might be worth a try!

  3. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Doctors are part of what is effectively a gigantic monopoly/cartel complex that includes the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance companies, the hospitals, and the doctors themselves. Doctors take out massive loans in order to be trained and educated with the promise of paying off those loans and making it all worth it in the future. Thus they have a massive vested interest in maintaining the status quo. That’s why it’s not so simple as telling doctors to have a conscience.

  4. Don Harris says:

    Ralph,
    I am one listener that got the message that 1% working together on an issue can defeat almost any corporate power interest in Congress.

    So I applied that message to one issue that 80% of citizens agree on, getting the big money out of politics, and came up with a way for citizens to work together on this common goal that requires no legislation so it can get started now and begin to be effective in 2020.

    Citizens can register that they will only vote for small donor only candidates in 2020 (200 dollar maximum donation from any one donor).

    For example, Joe Biden could easily raise enough money from small donors only.

    About 25% of registered voters nationally are registered Dems, around 30 million voters. One in ten of those Dems contributing 200 dollars would total 600 million dollars. Another one in ten contributing 100 dollars would be another 300 million. Another one ten contributing 50 dollars would bring the total over 1 billion.

    From just three in ten Dems.

    So let’s get 1% of voters to demand that Biden and other candidates run small donor only campaigns to earn our votes. The media might pay attention if this 1% (around 10-13 million citizens) were to take this action.

    And Biden and other candidates might pay attention if a few million of these voters were in key states to determine the electoral college.

    It’s some thing that everyone can say – hey, I can do that.

    All it requires is signing up on a website that you will only be voting for candidates that run small donor only campaigns, asking some other people to do the same and voting.

    You say things can happen fast. If we start this now it can possibly be effective in 2020, but will at least lay the groundwork and set up a base to be more effective in 2022 during the off year election when turnout is generally lower when this could give citizens that don’t normally vote in off year elections a reason to vote in 2022.

    You keep talking about other media and the people and ideas they do not offer, but other than here in the comments section you have not offered this idea to citizens.

    The problem with all the “how to fix democracy” books and advice is what to do when that advice doesn’t work, other than to remain persistent.

    I have followed your advice and have remained persistent since 2015 trying to get you to inform citizens about this opportunity to send a message to candidates and enforce that message (demand) with their votes or explain to me why you won’t or what is wrong with this approach, but it hasn’t worked on you- yet.

    Should it really be a surprise that many people don’t get active or get discouraged and give up?

    Think of where this approach might have progressed by now if it had been started in 2015-16, grew in participation in 2018 and how different the 2020 election might look now.

    Then think about where you want to be in 2022 and 2024.

    And think of this approach as a sort of Union for Politics. Just as workers can withhold their labor to demand better pay, working conditions, etc. citizens can withhold their votes to demand small donor only candidates.

    You said that candidates are more concerned with getting our votes than getting big money to run their campaigns. Let’s put that theory to a test.

  5. joepeeer says:

    Ur protesting all wrong.
    if u wana get the job done. u gotta show up.
    intermittent outbursts of marching madness r futile.
    Go pitch a tent in-front ur local cop shop.
    Sit. observe. Have some cold drinks and Hors d’oeuvre.
    if u wanna march, walk around the block.
    $pend time with the conditions ur protesting.

    Go to any if ur local county hospitals, and see ;
    Black nurse calls a bLack security guard to deny
    a blAck man relief by a blaCk doctor. Do BLM ?
    U know whats wrong. Go sit an hr at any local ER.
    Protest there. U might be able to help ?
    go march in circles around ur hospital for 4hr,
    protest the underlining truth.
    the real indignity’s.

  6. Michael Brown says:

    Hi Ralph – The most satisfying vote I have ever cast was for you in 2008. I wish I had done so sooner. If anyone, even at the risk of his own life, were to make an honest attempt to repair our broken democracy I know it would be you. At this point in time, however, I think entropy has won again. You might as well try to unscramble an egg. Do you have a technique for doing this in your cook book?

    P.S. I know that you’ll disagree, but my protest vote this year will be a write-in for Ralph Nader.

  7. Andy Standley says:

    Good talk, Ralph. I became radical when I was repeatedly denied admission to my state’s medical school without any good reason. I think they were sorting people that would or would not try to change the system. Great job deepening the discussion to the education dimension of the system. And you’re spot on to say that doctors rarely raise their voice in criticism. It’s actually worse than that, and for that deeper discussion, I refer people to Michael Albert ‘s participatory economics. As for me, I have changed course to pursue law school, because I see way more potential to help victims in that domain. Finally, Ralph, one thing: I don’t think that character is destiny as you’ve espoused before. Thanks.

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